What will the future hold for Bitcoin, the digital currency at the forefront of the crypto phenomenon? Does it have a future at all? Will its value soar or plummet in years to come? Is it bound to revolutionise the world we live in? The exact fate of the crazed cryptocurrency remains a mystery, much like its creator, who goes by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Crypto proponents and critics alike have weighed in on the debate and offered many interesting theories and scenarios that may unfold by 2030. Some are bursting with optimism, while others still have concerns about Bitcoin’s capacity to disrupt traditional financial systems. We can take a holistic look at the industry and its possible fate. Buckle up; this could be a bumpy ride as we explore positive and negative scenarios, cataclysmic failures and, of course, reaching “the moon”.
Bitcoin Thrives as Digital Gold
Peter McCormack, host of the podcast “What Bitcoin Did,” considers the simplest scenario a likely one. Bitcoin maintains its current trajectory — as more people adopt it, the network will continue to grow in value. We begin to see Bitcoin in pension funds, Bitcoin in sovereign wealth funds, and potentially Bitcoin on government balance sheets. Bitcoin’s market cap inevitably eclipses that of gold. McCormack deems this highly probable and the most realistic outcome for the virtual currency.
Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer of the Human Rights Foundation, believes this simplistic hypothesis would represent a victory. Today there are approximately 130 million Bitcoin account holders , and he thinks that by 2030 this figure could swell to 1 billion. Gladstein sees the theory that one should be able to buy a cup of java with Bitcoin for it to be considered a success, as misguided.
Bitcoin Gets Strangled by Regulation
Nigeria and India have imposed harsh crackdowns on Bitcoin. The fear is, what if the rest of the world were to follow suit? Jason Williams, author of “Hard Money You Can’t F**k With: Why Bitcoin Will Be the Next Global Reserve Currency,” claims that when countries try to block the growth of cryptocurrencies, it will eventually backfire. He says that in a fluid world, it’s easy enough to take your crypto business elsewhere when roadblocks appear.
Jackson believes prohibitions would only fuel the demand for crypto due to the scarcity created in the market. Should the U.S, for instance, ban crypto, it would likely cause an increase in demand and, therefore, the price. Bitcoin isn’t going to be squashed by regulation; that’s a myth. Regulatory attempts by single nations will ultimately be at no avail, but what about a “unified global regulation” scenario?
Williams, a mega-bull, says he sees this as the most significant risk to Bitcoin. World leaders could assemble to form a unified crypto policy — much like the Paris Climate Agreement adopted by 197 countries. This unified console could agree to clamp down on the crypto industry by imposing harsh restrictions. Williams says this would add another degree of complexity to the equation as the world struggles to work together on policy reform as it is, let alone when dealing with digital currency and its future. Key parties seldom agree, and this would lead to challenges in getting consistent follow-through.
Bitcoin Extends Its Use Cases
It’s widely felt that for Bitcoin to succeed as digital cash, it must first become digital gold. Bitcoin is already used as a medium of exchange for cross-country payments, settlements, and nations with deeply troubled currencies.
Tech entrepreneur and author Andreas Antonopoulos says he uses bitcoin weekly to pay web designers and translators in different countries and believes it’s currently being used by hundreds of thousands of people globally. Even so, Bitcoin still only accounts for a sliver of the global transactions, but will this change by 2030?
Let’s address the elephant in the room — price volatility. Raoul Pal, the former Goldman Sachs exec who now heads Real Vision Group, considers this a material obstacle to spending bitcoin. Pal suspects that the price of Bitcoin will be less volatile by 2030, but not enough to make it your first-choice payment method when visiting your local bakery. Pal says the volatility of Bitcoin makes it a nightmare for business merchants to accept. The fluctuations are difficult to account for in a balance sheet and could pose business modelling issues. Although buying a buy a round of beers with Bitcoin may be the dream for some, it’s a stretch to think will it possible by 2030.
Doomsday — The Network Breaks
The Bitcoin blockchain is impregnable, bulletproof, safer than a bank, and has never been breached by hackers. These are the sentiments often echoed about Bitcoin advocates. Security is the foundation of the network, but what if this Fort Knox-like system was compromised?
When asked, stockbroker and financial commentator Peter Schiff laughed and said it could be game over. A Black Swan failure could take shape in several forms — a 51% attack; an assault by quantum computing; or a network glitch or failure the likes of which we haven’t even dreamt of yet.
The bitcoin enthusiasts, perhaps unsurprisingly, consider this possibility unlikely. Gladstein argues that on top of the hefty price tag (at least $5 billion) required to acquire enough mining equipment to take over, destroy or manipulate the Bitcoin blockchain, the issue of a global semiconductor chip shortage would stand in one’s way. So, he considers the idea of anyone producing enough Bitcoin mining equipment to disrupt the network implausible.
As for hacks by quantum computing? Entrepreneur and investor Anthony Pompliano believes it’s rooted in nearly no reality, as when the offensive malicious capabilities of technology increase, so too do defensive technological abilities. In cryptography, it’s a cat and mouse game, and Pomp says that if you happened to have access to a quantum computer, you’d likely attack something else first. Why would you destroy its value and not reap the benefits? A target with more upside is more realistic.
Bitcoin Topples Fiat
Our grand finale scenario sees Bitcoin topple fiat by 2030, replacing it as the world’s go-to currency. Even the most bullish of bitcoin bulls consider an extremely unlikely outcome. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more passionate Bitcoin bull than Jason Williams, whose Twitter handle is @GoingParabolic. He is confident Bitcoin will eventually become a global reserve currency. He says it’s easy for him to see a Bitcoin valued at $5 million by 2030 but concedes he doesn’t foresee Bitcoin replacing fiat by 2030.
Fiat is here to stay, at least in some capacity. Gladstein predicts fiat currency to still be around for the next 60–100 years. He added that as Bitcoin gains in prominence, government’s ability to control the world will diminish.
There is simply no crystal ball to know what will transpire in the crypto-verse by 2030, but we hope our insights have broadened your scope of what’s possible debunked some mystery, and entertained you with outlandish speculation.